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CBN.com “I remember the first day going to the strip bar and having to take my clothes off. [It] was just horrifying.”
Stephanie Taylor was 18, living on her own and trying to make enough money to survive. A woman she knew told her that she could make a lot of money stripping in a bar.
“A good week, if you worked most of your days, you could make about $2,000 or more,” says Stephanie.
So how did this young woman end up working in a strip club? It started at home.
“I was abused by a family member growing up, mostly as a child.
There was a lot of carrying me by my hair through the hallway… I know now in that abuse and hurt that there were just a lot of voids.”
By age 16 Stephanie was trying to fill those voids with marijuana and alcohol. She went to all-night rave parties where she started using methamphetamines and ecstasy, an addictive drug that causes hallucinations.
“Being on the drugs and drinking really did take my mind off of all the hurts and what I felt deep down. Being around people and partying was a real easy way out from having to deal with my life as it really was.”
That’s when Stephanie left home, moved in with friends, and started her new career as a stripper.
The money rolled in. Stephanie thought she was living the good life. But that all changed when a man followed her home from work late one night.
“I was really scared because there was nobody there with me. This individual was knocking on my door pretty intensely. I did start asking God to help me. Lord Jesus, don’t let me die. I started saying these things without even knowing what the Lord really was keeping me from.”
Later she found out. On that night the man who followed her home broke into an apartment in the same building and attacked a woman.
“He had cut her up, raped her, and they found her in her tub. That’s when I left and went back home. That was when I first went to church.”
Pastor Carol Tate of Life Giving Christian Center recalls the day. “At the end of the service during ministry time, the Holy Spirit spoke a word through me to her. I called her by name. That was the first time I had ever met her.”
“That amazed me that this person could say my name and start saying all these things,” says Stephanie. “Saying how I’d been called out of darkness into the Lord’s light for a divine purpose and began just giving this prophetic word. That’s when the Lord just started tugging at my heart.”
At first Stephanie wasn’t ready to give her life over to God. She went back to church several times. Then one Sunday, God’s call was too strong to resist.
“This hand just pulled at my heart, and my feet just began to move,” recalls Stephanie. “I’m sitting there thinking in my mind, What are you doing, Stephanie? Because I was very rebellious. I was very mean. I ended up at the altar, and I prayed the salvation prayer. I know that day there was a transformation.”
But the transformation was incomplete.
“At that point I started doing ecstasy. I was taking two, three pills a day,” she says. “I did start dancing again.”
During this time Stephanie met Lance.
“When I first met Stephanie, I saw something different in her,” says Lance. “As I got to know her as a person, who she was drew me to her more so than what she was doing.”
Stephanie wanted desperately to be free from her destructive lifestyle. So finally she turned to the One who could help her.
“I began praying, ‘Lord Jesus, I don’t want to be in this place. I don’t want to do these drugs. I don’t want to be addicted to this. I don’t want to live a life like this.’”
Soon God answered Stephanie’s prayers.
“I turned on the TV in my bedroom, and there was The 700 Club,” says Stephanie.
Pat Robertson seemed to be speaking just to her.
“It was somewhere along the lines of being involved in a particular job [and] being involved in a lifestyle that I knew was wrong. I had to turn from that. God was calling me out of that today.”
Stephanie believed God had spoken to her but she needed to know it was real. That night she returned to the strip club and saw something she had never seen before…
“A curtain just opened up, and I saw demons standing all around that place. They were sitting in chairs, standing, and moving about. They were having the best time. I saw these girls, and they looked like death warmed over. It was like the Lord just opened it up, and He showed me.”
Stephanie knew what she needed to do. She went to church.
“There was some major struggle going on within me. It was like I could literally feel the darkness within me rising up. I remember going down front, and I don’t even know how I got there. I remember people coming around me and praying. I remember the pastor praying for me. At that one moment God set me free of every spirit, every demonic force that I had made a choice to open a door to.”
This time Stephanie made a total commitment to the Lord. It was real, and it was permanent.
“The Lord gave me a vision of what He had called me to. It’s mainly to be used for others that are in darkness, to break those chains, to speak life over them. That’s what Jesus is about. He’s a life-giver.”
God left no area of Stephanie’s life untouched. She and Lance married. Then God gave her a new dance and a new song.
“There’s a particular song called ‘My Redeemer Lives,’ and I actually interpret that. I remember listening to that song, and it was just so powerful to me. It just spoke of everything that I had come out of -- for everything that I had been through and what God had done in my life.”
God has filled the voids in Stephanie’s life that alcohol, drugs and money could never satisfy. His love for her has completely transformed her.
“I saw the darkness that she was brought out of, and I see the light and anointing that the Lord has put upon her,” says Lance.
“You give yourself to men or drugs or those things of the world, and God created you to give yourself to Him. He wants to show you and reveal to you who He is. He is your Father, and He’s not gonna turn you away. His arms are open, ready to accept you.”
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